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A NATION IN ANGUISH

At a time when the world is looking forward to using alternative sources of energy, nuclear included, when the price of crude oil is soaring high, and when the Gordon Browns, the Sarkozys and countries like China are speaking out in favour of safe nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the rant of the political Opposition in India on the Indo-US nuclear deal sounds like a sickening and senseless diatribe. Equally, the inability of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government to stand up and take a decision on the issue speaks volumes about the indecisive and ineffectual leaders who rule India.

When the international price of crude oil began to soar, the Left demand for more government subsidies grew louder. The UPA shilly-shallied, being reluctant to upset the bully who is not in the government and, even worse, not accountable. Here are some facts: in 1998, under the National Democratic Alliance regime, the price of crude oil per barrel was $ 12.2, the price of petrol per litre was Rs 23.94. When the crude price went up to $ 34.7, petrol went up to Rs 35.71 in 2004 . This amounted to an increase of 49.16 per cent. Under the UPA, with crude price at $ 124.3, petrol per litre went from Rs 35.71 in 2004 to Rs 50.52 in 2008, which was a rise of 41.47 per cent. This percentage rise is obviously less than when the NDA was ruling from 1998 to 2004. Why then has the Left Front decided to hit out at the UPA when it was silent at the time of the escalation during the last dispensation? Why does the Congress take this horrible kind of bullying lying down? Why can it not call a spade a spade and address all Indians through the Doordarshan, in all languages, drawing them in and explaining the truth? Many Indians may not be able to read and write but they can listen, absorb and comprehend. They belong to an ancient culture that has been through many upheavals.

Playing games

The hypocrisy of the incumbent partners, who are busy negotiating internal political deals to remain in power within another conglomerate lest the UPA, in its present configuration, gets defeated, reveals the reality of leadership in India. Most of the parties are self-serving, with no concern for larger national issues. Their policies, aimed at short-term-gains, and their unthinking, unintelligent rhetoric that belongs to the past century are fundamentally detrimental to the interests of this country. And when senior leaders of the Congress rationalize their adherence to the fast-fading Communist Party of India (Marxist), despite all its political blackmailing that has disgusted the public, by suggesting that the Left will be required by the Congress in a possible coalition after the next general election, one realizes how far removed the leadership is from the anguish of the common man. There is a sharp divide between the leaders and the people of India. The leaders are working for their private and petty agendas, unable to embrace the changing world because they are, by and large, illiterate, being incapable of understanding the language of the common man’s heart.

Since the Congress has been revealed as weak and floundering, unable to stand by its beliefs and work for the future of India, the nation will certainly not vote it back to power. But the Congress leaders will never acknowledge this reality. A few men and women belonging to Rajiv Gandhi’s generation would rather live in denial to ensure their permanence within the party hierarchy than speak out the truth. They would not allow the young leaders to take over. Some of the more shrewd loyalists in the Congress have started playing games, silently and subtly, to divide the young camp from within. They may seem to lose out now but they will stick to their devious schemes. They, after all, know that persistence pays.

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